Residential Design

VOL.4. 2018

A business-to-business magazine focused on the collaborative process and talented work of residential architects and custom homebuilders.

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a hammer before." Quips Keith, "They learn pretty quickly from digging founda- tion holes that's why you stay in school." Studio North's first effort in 2011 yielded Chicken Chapel, "a home for a growing flock of barnyard fowl." Other farm outbuildings followed in subsequent years: Rolling Pig Pen, Birch Pavilion, Consumable Sugar Shack, Woodland Retreat, Viewing Structure, and last year's Mobile Sauna. Individually, the projects garnered some encouraging press, but the better magic happened with the partners' thought to bundle them and submit them as a collection of "Seven Rural Interven- tions" to awards programs. They won a bunch of them—from the Boston Society of Architects, AIA Vermont, and others. Urban Renewal Now the program is at a crossroads. The seven-year itch has hit, and the partners are looking to reinvent the studio, preferably in a less remote en- vironment. "Seven is kind of a biblical number," says Keith. "We've estab- lished the kit of parts for the program. We've done it a number of times and sort of have it nailed." "So that's the time to stretch it," Robert says, completing his partner's thought. "We've determined we need to rethink this," Keith continues. The firm has its eyes on MASS MoCA—the Massachusetts Museum says Robert. "Doing it ourselves took some of the mystery and fear out of the construction process for us. We gained the confidence that, by hook or by crook, things will work out. It's given us a great- er maturity about construction." This was something, they thought, all young architects might find beneficial. Northern Experience With the goal of streamlining the Swamp Hut experience and opening it up to others, the partners decided to start a "school." They would charge just enough to cover supplies and some tasty catered meals for the week-long pro- gram. The venue was a 100-plus acre farm in Vermont, which suggested the name for the initiative, "Studio North." Studio North was not accredited, and the partners had no backchannel supply of students from architecture schools; they just sent out some bro- chures and applications, and made a few calls to architect friends. Miracu- lously, it worked. "We had five people show up the first year, even with no track record," Keith recalls. "We commend them for their leap of faith. They came from all over— Virginia, Minnesota, North Dakota, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island— and took a bus up north with us." As it turns out, there are plenty of architecture school students who need and want a built project in their port- folio. The example of Swamp Hut and its accolades lent the program an air of legitimacy, and the application process is a fairly breezy affair. "We're not terribly exclusive," says Robert. "We try to make sure there's some knowledge or interest in architec- ture. Most of them have not had much construction experience. And the vast majority are seeking to understand how design thinking can come together in con- struction. All wanted to see something actualized. Quite a few had never held Clockwise from top left: Studio North's award-winning portfolio includes Woodland Retreat, Consumable Sugar Shack, Chicken Chapel, and Viewing Structure. Photos this page: Courtesy Moskow Linn 16 RESIDENTIALDESIGNMAGA ZINE.COM VOL. 4, 2018 PRO-FILE DESIGN

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